Dancers Compete at Annual Westwood Dance Classic

Jenny Xu, Executive Editor

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  • Tory Loper ’17 poses with team members while holding her first place check.

  • Tory Loper ’17 graciously accepts her reward for winning first place.

  • Susi Chavez ’19 preforms her winning solo with grace.

  • Tori Loper ’17 performs in a rosy sundress.

  • Tori Nunn ’17 takes a giant step while being supported by her teammates.

  • Abby Scott ’17 twirls while with her team during the WDC

  • Marissa Kendall ’17 listens to a personalized shoutout before her performance.

  • Susi Chavez ’19 is lifted up by her fellow Sun dancers.

  • Abby Scott ’17 leaps through the air during her team’s performance.

  • Srija Reddy ’18 Poses with members of warrior pride during a hip-hop dance.

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Dancers from across the region gathered to compete in the annual Westwood Dance Classic (WDC) on Saturday, Feb. 11. Hosted by the SunDancers, the competition lasted from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and featured a variety of performances from different schools and studios. Countless hours of hard work went toward preparing for the event, with Baby SunDancers assisting during the setup process and directors planning throughout the year.

“[Ms.] Angel Scrudder and I spend countless hours throughout the whole year preparing,” director Ms. Shelby Kelly said. “It literally is a year round process of marketing, communicating, website building, registrations, awards, getting dances ready, the list goes on and on and on. It’s a big event to produce, but it’s very worthwhile.”

Though the SunDancers were unable to compete as a team because it was a home competition, they participated in a variety of solos and duets and were assessed on their dances.

“I think it makes it a growth experience, it’s more about the journey than the award,” Ms. Kelly said. “It gives them something to work toward with that feedback, especially in light of Escapade being so close.”

Warrior Pride took part in the competition as well, placing first in team hip hop and second in team contemporary, while also receiving a team gold award for receiving 90 points or above from every judge on any routine.

“We always perform our best when we have an audience, so it’s really nice to see all our hard work finally come together,” Warrior Pride member Asha Rao ‘17 said. “We weren’t expecting to win [first place in hip hop] because this year there were a lot more [JV teams] so we came in knowing there was a lot more competition.”

Both solo and duet dancers found success in their events, with several dancers advancing to finals. Tori Loper ‘17 took home first place in the 11th-12th grade solo division, and first place in the 10th-12th grade duet category along with Ella Loper ‘20. In addition, Tori Loper received a $50 cash award for placing first.

“It was a really special moment competing my duet with my sister since she’s graduating this year,” Ella Loper said. “It was fun to have the whole team supporting us and just having them watching us and getting to dance with [Tori] one last time.”

In the 9th-10th grade solo division, Susi Chavez ‘19 was second runner up, placing ahead of multiple other dancers.

“It feels really cool, but I’m just glad that I got to dance a lot,” Chavez said. “I was just thinking that I’m really lucky to get to dance at these kind of things and get to perform in front of so many people.”

Though the competition was fierce, teams remained focused throughout the entire experience. Regardless of whether they placed, dancers displayed their maturity with a positive attitude.

“I think that Austin has a really unique and really special community of dancers,” Ms. Kelly said. “Normally when you hear the word competition you think cutthroat, you think jealousy and backstabbing. We work really hard here to build an environment where it is competitive but it’s done in a loving way so that every team is genuinely happy for one another.”

Despite the fact that the event was exhausting for all who participated, in the end dancers were able to bond with teammates and create new memories, while also reminiscing over old ones.

“It’s a super long tiring day, but the best part of it is knowing that every time you see your team it’s just like a family,” Tori Loper said. “Everyone unites and builds you up, and reminds you why you’re here and why you’re on the dance team. It was sad because this is our last time performing in our home gym, it’s where we build our last memories together, but we just went for our best.”

The full list of awards for Westwood can be found below.

Tori Loper ‘17 and Ella Loper ‘20 — First place in 10-12th grade duet
Jenna Weatherbie ‘18 and Claire Burton ‘19 — Third place in 10-12th grade duet

Abby Scott ‘17 – Top seven finalist in 11th-12th grade solo
Tori Loper – First place in 11th-12th grade solo
Susi Chavez ‘19 – Second runner up in 9th-10th grade solo

Warrior Pride – First place in team hip hop
Warrior Pride – Second place in team contemporary
Warrior Pride – Gold (receiving 90 points or above from every judge on one routine)